My sister lives in Los Angeles and I live in New York and we only get to see each other a few times a year. We try to plan a short trip every Memorial Day weekend and this year we headed to Seattle with excited hearts and grumbling stomachs. I had previously been in Seattle for a total of 3 hours--I tried to make the most of a long layover and impulsively rented a car to explore a year before, so I had a lot more to explore. I always appreciate any time I get to spend with my sister and I couldn't be happier to get a chance to see more of Seattle with her.
Per usual, my sis and I centered our adventures around coffee and food. The food lived up to the hype wiith a reasonable price tag. (Though, anything after living in New York seems reasonable to me now.) Seattle was characteristically cloudy most of the weekend, so much that even my sis, who loves gloomy/ rainy weather got a little sick of it towards the end too. But I absolutely loved all the amazing greenery, exploding floral blooms, and super tall trees that results from the constant rainfall. My favorite was when I got to see a huge hydrangea bush with all the colors--pink, blue, purple--so cool that the color depends on the acidity of the soil and that one bush can have all of them!
We left with extremely stomachs full of goods and veins buzzing of caffeine.
Recommendations below at the end of the post!
SLATE COFFEE BAR A small but well designed coffee shop in a pretty neighborhood (Ballard) lined with homes with beautiful floral front gardens. Love their deconstructed espresso (their milk is delicious!), cold brew on nitro (this one's especially for the Guinness fans out there) and hot chocolate!
MOORE COFFEE SHOP Another downtown favorite that boasts the cutest latte art (puppies, butterflies, mickey mouse, bears, you name it!), but also serves up some really delicious lattes.
SHIRO'S SUSHI This has to be one of the best sushi I've ever had in my life. Do you know the documentary Jiro's Dream of Sushi? This guy Shiro was Jiro's apprentice and then opened a restaurant in Seattle. We didn't do the omasake (partly because it was maybe the 6th meal of the day), but instead chose a variety of a la carte sashimi. My sis and I absolutely LOVED the fatty tuna. It completely melted in my mouth, my mouth is watering now just thinking of it. I would make reservations before you go since it's a pretty popular place.
KERRY PARK This is the magnificent view of downtown Seattle. My friend Margarita lives close by and took us a couple times during the trip. It's the perfect place to watch the sunset or sunrise, or come just about any other time. It gets pretty packed during sunset so don't be surprised to have to move around for a good viewing spot!
CAFE BESALU Best croissants I've tasted outside of France, and the other pastries are amazing too. The person who makes them has to be French, it's definitely worth a stop in Ballard.
TOULOUSE PETIT My sis and I came here for their happy hour and pretty much ordered everything on the happy hour menu. Definitely worth it, our favorites were the gumbo, oysters three ways, and the
SEATTLE JAPANESE GARDEN This was maybe one of the most wild and green Japanese gardens I had ever seen, but I guess that's what you get in Seattle! It wasn't super traditional and trimmed/prim, but I loved its natural beauty. And of course since I'm obsessed with turtles it was an extra bonus that I got to see and feed them here.
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON Often praised for its amazingly beautiful campus, we had to go see it for ourselves, especially the famed Harry Potter library. The expansive campus is gorgeous and full of big, tall (magical) trees.
WASHINGTON PARK ARBORETUM This is a beautiful park with so many different types of trees and flowers and ponds, next to the Japanese garden as well! It's especially pretty with fall foliage.
CITY PASS SEATTLE Since we wanted to go to the Chihuly glass exhibit and the Space Needle, we thought the City Pass would be a good deal. It was pretty touristy, but I really enjoyed the glass exhibit, Space Needle, harbor cruise, and the EMP Museum, so it was definitely worth it!
COLOMBIA TOWER Instead of going up the Space Needle, you can also go up to this tower's Sky View Observatory, which is cheaper than the Space Needle and has great views over Seattle as well.
PIKE PLACE This is an absolute must. We wandered around and sampled things here and there, but the only thing we really waited in line for was the PIKE PLACE CHOWDER, which was definitely worth it. Next time I might even do a food tour. Luckily it was peony season so I also snagged a $15 bouquet (cheap, but so pretty) and flew with it on the way back to Los Angeles to give to my mom. Don't forget to go to the charming/weird gum wall!
SEATTLE COFFEE WORKS Across from Pike Place is this amazing coffee shop. They amazing coffee and the best patterns on their cups and saucers to go with it. I also love their slow bar where you can taste various types of coffee and chat with the friendly baristas and fellow coffee geeks.
MOLLY MOON'S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM This Seattle classic has several locations throughout the city, so there's no way you can miss it! You can't go wrong wiith the massive portions and so many great flavors to choose from.
STORYVILLE COFFEE Tucked away in Pike Place, this is an awesome coffee shop with the friendliest staff and amazing coffee. They make their own syrups and make their own bread for the sandwiches. They also make chocolate cake from scratch and randomly give it out for free throughout the day.
BATHTUB & GIN A lovely speakeasy bar is one of the best places for outstanding drinks in Seattle. It's a really small place so try to shoot to go on a weekday or an off hour.
TAYLOR'S SHELLFISH FARMS A trip to Seattle isn't complete without getting happy hour oysters. I was very pleased with all the oysters I had here, it was so fresh and delicious.
GREEN LAKE PARK We came here briefly because we wanted to go kayaking, but it ended up raining before we could start. Next time! It looks amazing.
THE PINK DOOR We didn't actually get to come here because we didn't make reservations in time, but this great modern Italian/ French place is on the top of our list when we come next time!